Blue Jays slugger exhibits power from start; lefty yields two runs in 1 1/3
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista hit his first home run of the spring, but Baltimore roughed up left-hander Mark Buehrle in the second inning en route to a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.
Bautista was making his first appearance since a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist ended his 2012 season on Aug. 25. He showed no ill effects in the first by sending a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field.
The second at-bat resulted in a sight Blue Jays fans hope to witness lots of times this season. Following a leadoff single by Jose Reyes, Toronto's right fielder sent a 1-2 offering from Troy Patton over the wall in left-center field to temporarily give the Blue Jays a one-run cushion.
"I've said it all along, it feels good, took a couple of big hacks today in good hitter's counts, and it felt perfect," said Bautista, who went 1-for-3. "It feels good to connect [with] the ball after a while [of] not playing. Happy to be out there and just getting ready for the season."
The Orioles got to Buehrle in the second inning. Buehrle retired the first four batters he faced in the game but then surrendered a single to Lew Ford followed by a two-run homer off the bat of outfielder Steve Pearce.
Buehrle then allowed two more batters to reach base before he was pulled from the game. He allowed the two runs on four hits while striking out one in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Right-hander Jair Jurrjens got the start for Baltimore and pitched a three-up, three-down first before getting into a jam in the second. Jurrjens allowed a pair of runners to reach base and then proceeded to allow a two-out RBI single to utility man Mark DeRosa.
Jurrjens hit 93 mph on the radar gun and was charged with the one run on two hits over the two frames. He threw 19 of his 29 pitches for strikes in his first appearance since signing with Baltimore during the offseason.
"I felt good. My timing's coming back," said Jurrjens, who is trying to overcome a right knee issue this spring to earn a spot in Baltimore's rotation. "I still need to work on the slider. The timing's a little bit off on that. But I felt really good. The ball's coming out like I want it to. I'm keeping the ball down. That's the main thing."
Up next for the Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey will make his spring debut in a Toronto uniform on Monday, as last year's National League Cy Young Award winner will test his trademark knuckleball against the Boston Red Sox in a 1:05 p.m. ET start in Dunedin. The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Steven Wright in a contest that be heard in an exclusive Blue Jays webcast.